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Byron Martinsen: FINRA Suspends Centaurus Advisor
Kings Park, New York financial advisor Byron Martinsen (CRD# 1621649) engaged in improper private securities transactions, according to a recent FINRA sanction. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records show that the Centaurus Financial broker and investment advisor has received multiple investor complaints, including one that alleges damages of $3 million.
According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (No. 2018059212201) issued in August 2022, Bryon Martinsen was registered with Centaurus Financial when, between 2014 and 2020, he engaged in private securities transactions involving “the sale of approximately $1,100,000 in alternative investments through 55 transactions with 57 firm customers.” He allegedly did not provide his firm with prior written notice of the transactions. FINRA found additionally that between August 2014 and February 2021, he paid 38 firm customers a total of roughly $400,000, in 150 transactions or more, “to compensate them for losses associated with securities investments” he recommended. These payments were also not authorized by his firm, FINRA states, which made them improper loss-sharing. The AWC Letter states that the private securities transactions involved alternative investments, “primarily real estate investment trusts.” In connection with its findings, FINRA issued Mr Martinsen a fine of $10,000 and a 15-month suspension from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.
Mr. Martinsen’s BrokerCheck report discloses multiple investor complaints. The most recent, filed in December 2021, alleged that he over-concentrated the customer’s accounts in illiquid investments. In 2022 the complaint reached a settlement of $15,801.50. In a statement on the complaint’s disclosure, Mr. Martinsen wrote that he “vehemently” denied the allegations, and that his member firm “unilaterally” settled the complaint without his agreement.
A second investor complaint, filed in 2020, alleges that as a representative of Centaurus Financial, Mr. Martinsen invested the customers’ accounts “in unsuitable, high-risk, illiquid investments,” including real estate and variable annuity products. The pending complaint alleges damages of $3,000,000.
A third investor complaint, filed in 2020, alleged that as a Centaurus representative, Mr. Martinsen misrepresented material information and over-concentrated the accounts in unsuitable products. In 2021 the complaint reached a settlement of $985,000. In a statement on the disclosure, Mr. Martinsen wrote that he denied the allegations.
A fourth investor complaint, filed in 2019, alleged that Mr. Martinsen recommended unsuitable real estate investments. In 2021 the complaint reached a settlement of $217,818.19. This complaint’s disclosure also includes a comment denying the allegations.
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Byron Martinsen holds 35 years of securities industry experience. Based in Kings Park, New York, he has been a broker and an investment advisor with Centaurus Financial since 1999 and 2011, respectively. He currently holds 19 state licenses. (Information current as of August 24, 2022.)
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